Noko Jeans

Some enterprising Swedes are attempting to manufacture and export jeans from North Korea.  As far as western countries go, Sweden has been one of the leaders in commercial interaction with the DPRK.  Although, according to Erik Cornell, they were frequently burned. 

The project, Noko Jeans, would be the first jeans manufacturer in North Korea.  Here is some info from their website:

Noko Jeans – jeans from North Korea

Noko Jeans began with an e-mail sent to North Korea, fueled by the enthusiasim of being able to contact the country directly. We thought Noko Jeans would end there, before it even began. It didn’t. Instead, and despite our lack of experience in international trading, it swiftly grew to a much more serious level.

Initiated and managed by three Swedes with a background in advertising and PR, Noko Jeans is our attempt to approach and get closer to North Korea, and it is our attempt to answer the question: is it possible to do what no one has ever done before? Is it possible to design, produce and import jeans from North Korea?

Greetings from North Korea!

After months of research, loads of headache and, lastly, several meetings with North Korean government representatives, we are finally allowed into the country. As official visitors, and by invitation of the state. Take off: 27th of July.

We are just now beginning to sense that this experiment actually might come true. Please stay with us as we tell you the unique process – and story – that is Noko Jeans.


3 Responses to “Noko Jeans”

  1. Koreabloggen says:

    As Sweden’s only North Korea blogger, I of course had to get in touch with these people. It seems like the project is actually happening. But I can’t help remaining a little skeptical, because of the way that North Korea has – just like Eric Cornell points out – treated potential investors in the past. I have a feeling that the NK feels that they can afford obstructing and continously changing the conditions especially frequently when they’re dealing with a small company that wouldn’t substantially change the foundations of their economy, to say the least.

    But I hope, for NoKo jeans’s sake – and for my own, since I want a pair of these jeans – that there’s a new attitude towards foreign businesses among the North Koreans dealing with them these days. Eric Cornell pointed out in an interview that I did with him earlier this year that he had sensed a new kind of thinking among North Korean officials today (he met some of them while they were in Sweden two years ago for classes at the Stockholm Business School) in comparison with they way that they had behaved during his years at the Swedish embassy in Pyongyang.

    I strongly believe that North Korea is prepared to sacrifice a lot more than they have in the past in order to get more foreign businesses operating in the country, but I also have doubts about what efforts they are really prepared to make for minor companies. What do you think?

    And are they really the first jeans makers in North Korea? I can’t recall actually reading about any companies in Kaesong making jeans, but it wouldn’t surprise me…

    While I’m at it, I want to thank you for running one of the most interesting blogs out there. Keep it up!


  2. Koreabloggen says:

    This is what I managed to find on jeans manufacturing in North Korea, but the article doesn’t reveal whether it ever happened or not: